Sofia & Dom's big day, Takapuna

When I did my pre-wedding site visit to St Leonard's Chapel and Gardens in Takapuna, I knew Sofia and Dom's wedding was going to be a beautiful one! If you haven't been there, the gardens are stunning and absolutely perfect for wedding photography: with green archways, a romantic fountain, open lawn, little wooden benches dotted around the ground, beautiful flowers - all spread out over a fairly small area, so it's easy for everyone to get around.

My day started with "getting ready" shots at Sofia's house, bright and early at 9:30am. As always, there was a wonderful happy buzz around, so I just stand in the background and capture the going ons. As I met Sofia for a chat a couple of weeks before, we knew each other well enough for her to feel comfortable with me hanging around while she's getting ready and dressed, which I think is really important.

I grabbed a couple of shots of the bridesmaids and car before shooting off to the chapel to capture the arrival of the bride.

And here they are. I just loved the colour of the car against all that beautiful natural greenery. It reminded me of an English country wedding.

And on to the ceremony.  I knew that Dom and Sofia's big day wasn't just about the two of them, but also their beautiful little baby girl, so I made sure little Aubrey featured in many of my photos throughout the day.

In front of the church, it was family photo time. This often ends up the being the more stressful part of the day - getting everyone together, deciding who should or shouldn't be in the photos, can bring up all sorts of issues. So I always advice couples to write a list of the family photos they want in advance and to nominate someone in their wedding party who knows most people to rally the troops. 

This worked brilliantly at Sofia and Dom's wedding, so the family photos were done quickly, and people could get back to what they are there for, catching up with old friends and celebrating.

We had allocated 45 minutes for bridal party and bride and groom shots, which was sufficient time in this relatively small garden. The ceremony out of the way, it was time to relax and have a bit of fun.

For the bride and groom, this is often the only time in the day they have to themselves, so at this stage, I send away the bridal party, put on my long zoom lens and leave the couple to it with just a few ideas on poses... if you need them.

Dom and Sofia's reception was held at the Patriot in Devonshire. As they had booked my 5-hour package and the cake wasn't going to be cut until the evening, we did a mock cake cutting to get that essential shot.

The reception was a lovely informal affair with finger food and a few short speeches, followed by the all important first dance. Sofia had told me that the dance with her dad was very important to her, so I made sure to get a few good shots of that too.